Re: tautology

From: Jacques M. Mallah <>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 14:38:58 -0400 (EDT)

On Thu, 23 Sep 1999, Russell Standish wrote:
> > > The properties ascribed to that class should therefore be
> > > invarient of the exact definition.
> >
> > Obviously it does stop us since we disagree on the properties.
> Which properties did you have in mind?

        See the cloning example.

> > [JM wrote]
> > > > > > There is no randomness in the ASSA. That would require an
> > > > > > identity function (mind-like hidden variables) + new laws of physics that
> > > > > > are stochastic. *Effective* probability + deterministic phyics only,
> > > > > > please.
> > > > >
> > > > > The Sampling of the SSA term implies a random selection process. Over
> > > > > and above that, of course there is no additional randomness required.
> > > >
> > > > NO. In my view everything is deterministic. There is NO
> > > > randomness. Just a lot of observers with different observations.
> > > > *Effective* probability is proportional to the number/measure of those.
> > >
> > > What about what your observers actually observe? That is random.
> >
> > What we have here is a failure to communicate. I don't know how
> > to convey an idea you don't seem to understand. I hope I won't have to
> > keep trying. The idea is very very simple after all.
> > Suppose there are 1000 observers. For simplicity, assume each can
> > be labeled by a brain state which we can number from 1-1000, and that each
> > sees a different observation, which we can label by the observer number N.
> > Consider number 463. He sees an observation with various
> > characteristics, which we have labeled #463.. There is NOTHING random
> > about that, not in any way, shape or form, at all. Period. I can't
> > emphasize that enough.
> Emphasize all you like. It sounds like a typical statistician's
> procedure for defining a stochastic process.

        BS. Retract that statement or justify it.

        The truth is you won't find a definition of "stochastic" in a math
book, except for an informal discussion in the first chapter. It is a
primitive concept, and the human brain has an idea about it, but the math
is forced to deal with probabilities using deterministic measure theory.
        However there should be no confusion since the distinction I made
above is very clear. Did our observer #463 see observation #463 by
chance? NO. In a way he *is* observation #463.

> > Nor does he have any direct evidence to prove that the other
> > observers exist. But what he can do is guess that they exist based on
> > Occam's razor, thinking "the world would be simpler if I were one out of
> > 1000 observers".
> > Suppose that each observer sees 10 coins. Our observer #463
> > notices that 9 out of the 10 are tails up, 1 is heads up. He guesses that
> > most observers see mostly tails up coins. In other words, he guesses that
> > the effective probability for each coin to be tails up is large.
> > To find out if this guess is correct we would "take a survey" of
> > all the observers. Still nothing random from any point of view.
> Agregating statistical properties reduces the level of randomness in
> the description. In the infinite limit (or thermodynamic limit if you
> prefer that term) one should be left with a deterministic system.

        What does that have to do with anything? You don't seem to be
responding to anything I wrote, just pulling random stuff out of thin air.

> > Of course, the results of the survey are the same as if the coins
> > were randomly distributed with the appropriate probabilities. Hence the
> > term effective probability.

        This is the main point I was making. An effective probability is
nothing like a stochastic probability, except for practical purposes, that

> > > In our case, the ASSA and the RSSA are
> > > probably connected by a measurement theory of quantum mechanics,
> > > something about which we have only the vague outline at present.
> >
> > That's BS. They are plainly incompatible since they give
> > conflicting predictions. They are not just different levels of
> > description. And I see no reason why invoking QM would change anything.
> > On the contrary, we already know the physics, what we need for a
> > measurement theory are precisely things like the ASSA + computationalism.
> Tell me how they give conflicting predictions? You cannot conclude
> from ASSA that an observer will not observe an arbitrarily large age,
> unless of course you assume the "random hopping" interpretation, which
> you have quite explicitly (and in my opinion quite rightly) ruled
> out. ASSA in this case simply has no predictive power over what
> histories observers will see. The RSSA, on the other hand will predict
> this, provided a number of other (reasonably believable) assumptions
> are taken. There's no conflict here. What other predictions are in conflict?

        That is complete nonsense. Of course no observer ever saw
'histories' with the definition of observer I have used above. You see
one observation.
        The ASSA, together with our theories of physics, very obviously
implies that the effective probability of observing a large age is quite
low. This is effectively a prediction, and most observers will find it to
be correct. Using simple Bayesian reasoning, effective predictions are
just as good as any other predictions. In particular, you can plug the
effective conditional probabilities into the Baysian formula to update
priors about proposed models of reality. In this case to endorse ASSA and
reject RSSA.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Fri Sep 24 1999 - 11:49:35 PDT

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